An ordinance regulating the installation and use of alarm systems, providing for the imposition of fees for false alarms, establishing a penalty for violation thereof and repealing any and all ordinances and / or resolutions in conflict therewith.
The Township Board of the Charter Township of Chesterfield,
Section 1. Short Title
This Ordinance shall be known and cited as the “Chesterfield Township Alarm Ordinance”.
Section 2. Enabling Authority
This Ordinance is adopted pursuant to and in accordance with 1945 PA 246 and 1947 PA 359.
Section 3. Definitions
- The term “Alarm Business” means any business in which the owners or employees engage in the activity of altering, installing, leasing, maintaining, repairing, replacing, selling or servicing alarm systems.
- The term “Alarm System” means an assembly of equipment and devices or a single device such as a solid-state unit, which uses electrical energy to signal the presence of a hazard requiring urgent attention and to which Police are expected to respond. In this Ordinance, the term “Alarm System” shall include but not be limited to the terms “Automatic Holdup Alarm Systems”, “Burglar Alarm Systems”, “Holdup Alarm Systems” and “Manual Holdup Alarm Systems” as those terms are hereinafter defined. Fire alarm systems and alarm systems, which monitor temperature, humidity or any other condition not directly related to the detection of an unauthorized intrusion into premises or an attempted robbery at premises, are specifically excluded from the provisions of this Ordinance. Also excluded from this definition and from the coverage of this Ordinance are alarm systems used to alert or signal persons within the premises in which the alarm system is located, of an attempt unauthorized intrusion or holdup attempt. If a system deploys an audible signal emitting sounds or a flashing light or beacon designed to signal persons outside the premises, the system shall be within the definition of alarm system and shall be subject to this Ordinance.
- The term “Annunciator” means the instrumentation on an alarm console at the receiving terminal of a signal line, which through both visual and audible signals show that an alarm device at a particular location has been activated or indicates line trouble.
- The term “Answering Service” refers to a telephone answering service providing among it’s services, the service of receiving on a continuous basis through trained employees, emergency signals from alarm systems, and thereafter immediately relaying the message by live voice to the communication center of the Police Department.
- The term “Automatic Dialing Device” refers to an alarm system which automatically sends over regular telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded voice message or coded signal indicating the existence of the emergency situation that the alarm system is designed to detect.
- The term “Automatic Holdup Alarm System” means an alarm system in which the signal transmission is initiated by the action of the robber.
- The term “Burglar Alarm System” refers to an alarm system signaling an entry or attempted entry into the area protected by the system.
- The term “False Alarm” means the activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation without an unlawful entry or through the negligence of the owner or lessee of an alarm system or of his employees or agents or other cause.
- The term “Holdup Alarm System”, refers to an alarm system signaling a robbery or attempted robbery.
- The term “Manual Holdup Alarm System” refers to an alarm system in which the signal transmission is initiated by the direct action of the person attacked or by an observer of the attack.
- The term “Police Chief” means the Chief of the Police Department of the Township or his designated representative.
- The tern “Subscriber” means a person who buys or leases, or otherwise obtains an alarm signaling system and contracts with or hires an alarm business to monitor or service the alarm device.
Section 4. Alarm System Requirements
No person shall interconnect any automatic dialing device to a Police Department primary trunkline and no person shall permit such devices to remain interconnected from any property owned or controlled by that person. Such devices may be interconnected to a modified central station or an answering service. Relaying messages so received to the Police Department shall only be done person to person on the telephone line designated by the Police Chief. The Police Chief may approve a direct line installation between a modified central station or an answering service to the Police Department, with full costs to be borne by the immediate service.
- The alarm user will provide the Police Department with the name, telephone number and address of the premises where the alarm is located and the names and telephone numbers of at least two other persons who have agreed in writing to cooperate in this program, who can be reached at any time, day or night, and who are authorized to respond to an emergency signal transmitted by the automatic alarm device, and who can open the premises where the device is installed. If any such person refuses to cooperate with the Police Department, such refusal shall be a violation of this Ordinance. If any such person withdraws his agreement to cooperate, the alarm user will at once furnish another person who has consented and meets the qualifications set out in this section.
- No person shall use, install or direct to be installed any audible alarm system which emits a sound and / or visual signal for a period longer than 15 minutes from the time of the initial signaling of the device.
- Separate systems are required whenever a single building contains more than one unit of occupancy and each unit has a separate entrance. If such occupant elects to install an alarm system, said person shall be required to have a separate alarm system for each business located in such building. Whenever a multiple housing residential structure shall have separate entrances for each occupancy unit, and such occupant elects to have an alarm system, each separate entrance to the occupancy unit shall contain separate alarm systems.
Section 5. Testing
- No alarm system designed to transmit emergency messages directly to the Police Department shall be tested or demonstrated without first notifying the Police Department dispatcher.
- No alarm system relayed through intermediate services to the Police Department will be tested to determine response without first notifying the Police dispatcher
Section 6. Notification
When an alarm business service to it’s subscribers is disrupted for any reason by the alarm business, or the alarm business becomes aware of such disruption, it shall promptly notify it’s subscribers by telephone that protection is no longer being provided. If, however, the alarm business has written instructions from it’s subscriber not to make such notification by telephone during certain hours, the alarm business may comply with such instructions.
Section 7. Fee For Answering False Alarms
There is hereby imposed a fee for Police response to false alarms. For the first two there shall be no fee but a warning in writing shall be given. Such fees shall be $25.00 for the third response in any calendar year, $50.00 for the fourth response in any calendar year and $100.00 for all further responses in that calendar year.
This fee is imposed whether the Police Department received the alarm by direct connection or through any intermediary such as an answering service modified central station. This section imposes no fee when the choice is made to notify the Police Department directly by person of any situation. The fee imposed by this section is imposed solely when the choice is made to employ an alarm system. If the Police Chief is notified of the date of installation of the new alarm system, the fee imposed by this section is waived for a 90-day period beginning with the date of installation.
The Police Department shall mail a “False Alarm Notice” to the alarm user following each false alarm occurrence indicating therein the appropriate warning or fee as prescribed by this Ordinance.
Section 8. Termination of Direct Connection
The Police Chief is authorized to require that the owner or lessee of any alarm system directly connected to the Department shall disconnect such device until it is working in such a manner as will not produce a high frequency of false alarms. The Police Chief shall require disconnection if six or more false alarms are received in any twelve-month period. The Police Chief may, after giving notice to the subscriber, order disconnection of the system for non-cooperation of the subscriber, or for violations of this Ordinance. Any use of an alarm by an alarm user after receiving notice from the Chief of Police that the alarm is defective and before the alarm is repaired is prohibited.
Section 9. Evidence of False Alarms: Exceptions
In determining whether an alarm is a false alarm, all circumstances shall be considered. Setting off an alarm may cause a person who was attempting to break in to flee. In investigating whether an alarm is false, a careful check will be made for signs of attempts to break in, such as scratches around windows. Alarm conditions caused by the following extenuating circumstances shall not constitute a false alarm and no false alarm fee shall be charged by the Township:
- Alarm system malfunctions, if corrective measures have been instituted within a 72-hour period with notification to the Township Police Department provided that the alarm user presents documentation of repair service having been performed by the alarm company to remedy the malfunction.
- Alarm conditions being activated by persons working on the alarm system with prior notification to the Township Police Department.
- Alarms which can be substantiated as being activated by disruption or disturbance of telephone company facilities or motor vehicle / utility pole accidents or by storm conditions.
Section 10. Penalty
Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this Ordinance shall be fined not more than $500.00 for each offense, and a separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues.
Section 11. Sever Ability
If any section, paragraph, clause or provision of this Ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, the invalidity or unconstitutionality of such section, paragraph, clause or provision shall not affect any of the remaining provisions of this Ordinance.
Section 12. Repeal of Conflicting Provisions
All resolutions, ordinance or parts thereof in conflict with the provisions of this Ordinance are to the extent of such conflict hereby repealed.
Section 13. Publication
This Ordinance shall be published in full in The Bay Voice, a newspaper of general circulation in the Charter Township of Chesterfield, within thirty (30) days after it’s adoption.
Section 14. Effective Date
This Ordinance shall take effect thirty (30) days from and after the date of publication of a true copy thereof in a newspaper circulating within the Charter Township Of Chesterfield, as heretofore provided by Section 4.